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NQT struggle and advice.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by PineappleTeach, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. PineappleTeach

    PineappleTeach New commenter

    I am an NQT who has finally, after a year of looking, secured a post. I was ecstatic, after a year out, to be finally teaching my own class (primary). However, since starting in Year 2 in September I just feel deflated and like I am doing a awful job. My class has behaviour issues that I am almost on top of but absolutely wear me out. On top of this I feel I am forever chasing my tail with marking, having to take at least three sets of books home every night. I have 0 confidence in my ability and my self esteem in general is not great but this I feel was made worse by the year on supply prior to this.
    I just feel that I am failing myself, the school and the children.
    It has gotten to the point where I go to plan a lesson and I sit and over think ever part of it. I don't want to make it to simple or too complex and just feel I am blagging the year.
    I have spoken to my mentor who is supportive when they have time, but as they are SLT they are often busy with other things and due to a busy home life leave pretty early each night. They have told me that the stress and feelings are all part of NQT and that I am doing fine but I am just so worried I will fail or I am not good enough. I have even begun to look at other career options within education but don't want to let family or partner down by quitting. I also don't want to let myself down. This is my life long dream!

    Also to add to this I am now off work currently due to a medical condition caused by a virus. I have had 3 days previous to this due to a horrific sickness bug and I am worried about the impact on my NQT year. I am aware it is 29 days but is this working days or include weekends? Silly question I know.

    Apologies in advance for this long post but ANY advice or help on how I can improve this feeling or situation would be helpful.
  2. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Firstly please call down it is most certainly not the end of the world. Remember you can only do what you can and like all of us you are human.

    Secondly do confide in an experienced reacher mentor or not. Your mentor goes home early. ..don't know what to say to that but he she is actually paid /has additional time penned in to see you and you should NOT feel a bother asking them for advice because that is exactly what they are there for.

    Please DO use lessons that have already been prepared DON'T attempt to design every lesson from scratch. By all means adjust Where ever possible use ALF where students can self assess. Rotate marking some of it might be done fortnightly rather than weekly.

    Speak to your head tell him / her the way you feel. A good HT will offer a solution. My menee was exactly like you and we removed 2 hours from her timetable to allow her more time ...I know this might not be possible but still ask for it if you feel you can.

    Ensure you have quality time with friends / partner.

    See you GP or stress ... remember stress lowers immunity so no wonder you are ill.
    Go to the he Gym eat healthily
    Post here on a TES ...it can really help ALOT.

    Never think you are not good enough. You are a wonderful young intelligent teacher with a great future. You school obviously thinks this which is why they employedf you.

    Lastly it gets MUCH better your confidence will grow.

    God bless you and look after you !
  3. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Forgot to say do not worry about being ill at all. Ensure you rest. If you are sick foe 5 days or more a medical cert will do. Teachers often get sick ...lots of contact with kids.

    Any more questions don't hesitate to ask

    Curae xxx
    Bumptious likes this.
  4. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    If the school say you're doing fine then listen to them. I understand why you're panicking, but I don't think you need to be!

    You should have your first NQT review shortly, at which point you'll have a meeting and discuss how it's going, and you should be given some developmental targets. If there's anything that you think would help you, do tell them. See if there are any LA induction events (I went to some in my area - marking and feedback, things like that). In preparation for the meeting why don't you think about some of the things you've done well since September, in terms of meeting the teacher standards, and write them down.

    You will probably be teaching for a few years before you feel half way competent - that's how it was for me! But a decent school knows you need to develop. So don't give up just yet :)

    P.S. It's 29 teaching days - not including weekends and holidays.
    Curae likes this.
  5. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Don't worry - I've blagged a whole career. I think we all feel like that at different times.

    The NQT year is tough. There are 1000s of NQTs out there, feeling very similar to you do right now, but it does get easier. By term six you will be feeling very different about life. Don't worry. Keep going - listen to good advice, smile and nod at bad advice and try to recharge your batteries when you can.

    The length of time it takes to plan and mark significantly decreases with experience. Good teachers develop certain 'strategies' to cut-out superfluous nonsense and make life easier for themselves...

    Get well. Chill out. Smile. Give yourself a break - It's Christmas soon.

    Curae likes this.
  6. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    not just NQT - part and parcel of the whole experience of teaching

    This is part of the ridiculous illogical thinking that gets people entrenched so far into teaching that they can't see a way out. In what way, exactly, are you letting anyone down by leaving? The government and the teaching profession is letting everyone down by imposing a stupid, inhumane work load that completely wipes out your life.

    Listen to yourself " lifelong dream"! you didn't know anything about it. your dream was ill informed and misguided, and the job you were dreaming about doesn't exist.

    Now you have a better idea of what teaching is really like, make a decision.

    Is this how you want to use up the next 40 years of your life? if its what you want, then get used to the constant exhaustion, blows to your self confidence and inhumane work load.

    if it isn't, then get out now.

    Don't be held back by any misguided and misplaced sense of guilt or duty.
  7. bounceback

    bounceback Occasional commenter

    If you have done supply that will have have given you more resilience and helped you to get on top of behaviour issues, so you should feel proud of yourself. ( A lot of teachers wouldn't cope with supply)
    A lot of the marking policies schools have are over the top and don't improve learning. All those colours! Even ofsted don't think they are necessary. Can you discuss with your mentor/HT ways of cutting down marking - maybe peer marking if you are KS2, or a brief mark/using stampers for some subjects.
    Remember this term is the longest and it's nearly done!
  8. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Also - don't be put off by the negativity of others.

    As with all things in life, some people enjoy great success in their teaching careers, others less so.

    Some also like to rationalise or justify their own bad experience/s by projecting them onto others (or an entire profession) - Carve your own path and do not be put-off by the naysayers...
    caterpillartobutterfly and Curae like this.
  9. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    ...or be realistic, and actually look objectively at how many teachers come out with their mental health intact.......

    look at the national suicide rates amongst teachers.... ( hugely underestimated, even in the official statistics - none of the suicides I have known relating to teaching have been recorded as "suicide" ) so even whilst looking at those statistics, keep in mind that the real numbers are likely to be much higher.

    then ask yourself why anyone would want to deny this reality by claiming that people are just "justifying their own bad experience by projection" - what ever that meaningless twaddle is supposed t be saying

    you will find many of the people who deny the reality of the horrendous, soul destroying bullying in teaching are either the ones who have not yet experienced it, although mostly they eventually will, or are themselves the bullies.

    Unfortunately, these are the people largely responsible for maintaining the status quo, how ever horrific it is.

    I used to be one of these, optimistic, hard working, believing anything that went wrong was my own fault and I should work harder and be better at my job. over the decades I have witnessed the carnage teaching has caused in many other people's lives and have come to recognise the similarities between teaching and an severely abusive relationship. - and denying the abuse simply creates the right environment for abuse to flourish
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
    pepper5 likes this.
  10. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Lots of great advice here. Listen and use it never give up on your dreams.

    You can do it.

    Have a wonderful Christmas.
  11. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    So my friends, colleagues and I are all either about to be bullied or bullies ourselves? That's it?!

    Curae likes this.
  12. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Noooo, you don't deny that it is a reality for some teachers in some schools with some SLT.
    You just sensibly realise that a forum for posting dilemmas is going to give a skewed picture of the reality.
    I had a year of absolute hell, which nearly ended both my career and life, but I've also had over 20 years of fantastic fun and great job satisfaction.

    A friend once said to me that all teachers are horrible, and mostly incompetent, for the last couple of weeks of the autumn term. We are all knackered, fed up, trying to pretend we are able to produce outstanding learning while juggling the excitement of Christmas and wanting to kill the poor person tasked with organising the nativity play that year.

    Don't make any long term decisions at this time of year.
    Don't beat yourself up for teaching sod all for the next few weeks.
    Don't take anything any colleague says to heart, they also feel like cr ap.
    DO spend a few days of the holiday exploring sites with ready made plans and adapting them. (If your school forbids this, then use the lovely snipping tool or copy and paste and pretend it is your own.)
    DO take care of yourself...eat lots of vegetable and fruit at lunchtime, so that pannettone and chocolate can form your evening meal with no lasting problems.

    And most of us who are whinging old sods now, can give you horror stories of things we did in our first years of teaching. Everyone thinks they will change the world and inspire every child to love learning. The reality is a good lesson in your first year is often merely one where no-one thumped anyone else.

    Seriously, teaching is the best job in the world, but the first few years are a pain. Stick with it and you'll get there.
    PineappleTeach, Curae and pepper5 like this.
  13. bounceback

    bounceback Occasional commenter

    Pineapple Teach - I see you teach Year 2 which I know generates a lot of marking and can take longer as some of the lower ability can produce writing that is quite hard to decipher at times! If you have to use coloured pens - aaarghhh, I totally sympathize!! If you have TA support could they mark the books of the group they are working with?

    I've done supply for a number of years. It's not easy and can knock your confidence / self-esteem at times. However, you will have picked up lots of skills by doing supply - quickly adapting to changes, dealing with lots of different behaviour issues, working with a wide variety of people and so on. I know teachers that would never contemplate supply, they find the idea too daunting.

    It might be worth asking if you can have a meeting with your mentor at a fixed time each week/fortnight. If they've taken on the role of mentor they really should be making time for you. Is there another member of staff you can talk to 'unofficially' who might be able to give you some support. When I started my teaching career a couple of older members of staff gave me more support in an unofficial capacity than my actual mentor ever did. (My mentor actually admitted that she wasn't really sure what she was supposed to be doing).

    Please don't feel guilty about being ill. You are human, you will get ill - especially with a class full of germy Year 2s coughing and sneezing their bugs all over you:eek: Try and relax if you can, read a book that takes your mind off school stuff and get your quota of vitamins and minerals.

    If you do eventually decide teaching is not for you, don't feel like you have let anyone down. I'm sure your partner and family want you to be happy and if teaching makes you unhappy I doubt they'd want you to continue.
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  14. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    I'm not denying anything. I've been in schools where morale is low and schools where morale is high. Fortunately for me, I now primarily spend my time in those that fall into the latter category.

    As I've so often stated, it all comes down to the quality of local leadership and whether or not they make intelligent decisions or ludicrous decisions...

    I am serious when I state that young/new teachers should not be put-off by the endless, droning prophecies of doom that emerge from some quarters. Ones future is what ones makes of it...

    I'm very glad that I left my previous (better paid) profession to become a teacher. Overall, it has been a positive move.
    Curae and caterpillartobutterfly like this.
  15. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Yes teaching is not and has never been easy even when things do go well. We spend hours on end dealing with students and when we then have to deal with unreasonable requests from senior staff it does sometimes feel we are placed in an impossible situation.Caterpillartobutterfly I truly admire how you have clearly turned around a presumably shocking experience into the positivity you relay in so many posts. Your recommendations are excellent ...realistic honest and doable.Sometimes we really do have to reach the end of our tether before we see the light.

    In short OP should take on board the advice given because collectively we are offering probably 100 years of it.

    God bless you all and thank you for being so brilliant in helping our fellow colleagues.
    caterpillartobutterfly and Pomza like this.
  16. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    And I am eqaully serious when I say new/ young teachers need to be told quite plainly it isn't them, it is the system. Give as much advise as you want, but don't ever imply that everything would be rosy if only they did it right - because the chances are it won't, and never will be.

    in teaching it quite categorically isn't, and if you haven't experienced that yet, then you will
  17. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    You sound so certain...

    It went wrong for you, so it must also go wrong for me?
  18. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi PT

    You are being way too hard on yourself. It takes 10,000 hours to master a craft, so work out how many lessons that amounts to. A lot. The school say you are doing fine so believe them. Two and a bit more weeks until the break then you can recharge.

    As others have said, don't spend hours making resources or lessons. Why would you want to do that when there are thousands of quality resources either totally free or low priced? Keep things as simple as you can.

    Get a copy of The Lazy Teacher's Handbook which gives advice about hownto do tasks more efficiently.

    Of course you have to use the school's marking policy, but use stamps if they are allowed. Or print off stickers with different comments. Mark as you go if you can with maths.

    You have done well to get on top of the behaviour.

    Take care of your health by eating well and getting enough sleep.

    If one day you decide you need/want a change you are not failing anyone. The education system will creak along as it has always done.
  19. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Sheeeesh!!! That's a sort of scary thought! :eek:

    Almost certainly accurate though. :)
    Curae likes this.
  20. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    huge under estimate, I would say , we could add it up, I'm 25 yeas on my own
    Curae likes this.

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